Promoting active learning and critical thinking

I love this paragraph from Alan Crawford, E. Wendy Saul, Samuel Mathews and James Makinster’s book Teaching and Learning Strategies for the Thinking Classroom:

In classes that promote active learning and critical thinking, teachers do assess students’ mastery of the content of the curriculum, and they may do this by means of traditional paper-and-pencil tests, by oral recitations, or by observations as students discuss topics related to a lesson. But they also look at two more things. They assess students’ learning processes. That is, they observe carefully to see how well students can carry out the learning activities that they have been taught, and to find ways to improve their learning. They also assess the quality of students’ thinking. At the same time, teachers take care to assess in such a way that they teach students how to perform.

This is what I continue to strive for in my classroom. If you haven’t got your hands on a copy of this book yet, do it.

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